I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.
I run upstairs and slam my bedroom door shut, pushing my dresser in front as a barricade, and then slump down with my back against it. I can’t stop the tears, and I’m breathing so heavily it’s like I’m gasping for air.
My mum tries to come up to me shortly after. She apologizes and asks me to apologize too—but I can’t. I can’t even look at her, even though everything inside me wants to just say it and move forward. She tells me that sometimes we need to learn how to just shrug things off. But I bury my face in my blankets and let her walk away, disappointed.
I’m eight years old and this scenario happens all too often.
Now, at 26, I see this pattern also following me in my relationships in young adulthood. And it’s not just my romantic ones; it’s friendships and work relationships too.
I struggle to regulate my emotions. I also struggle with beating myself up about it.
I wish I could react differently.
I wish I acted more mature in situations.
I wish I could be chill and easy going all of the time.
I wish, I wish, I wish.
Though, yes, I do need to work on managing this because it does affect my relationships and could affect other areas of my life—a big part of working through this is coming to terms with the fact that it is a part of me.
That what might be my greatest character flaw is also my greatest strength.
The emotion that I exhibit in the heat of the moment also fuels my creativity. It also allows me to realize when there is something else, something bigger, going on within. It tells me that there’s space here to grow and to learn to better communicate with others about this part of me so that they can better understand me, too.
I don’t have a solution yet (I’m working on it), but I know that as an adult, kicking and screaming your way through a disagreement is not the way to handle oneself. But that I also need to accept that this is part of who I am. I can’t hate or shame it away. I have to love her, me, all of it—the good, the bad, and the ugly. And through this loving-awareness, figure out how I can tell her to, well, reel it in a little.
When I think back to those moments as a child, if my parents reacted back to me with equal heat, it only made me want to react back even stronger. But when, like my mum did in that case, my struggle is acknowledged, it allowed for that kicking and screaming little girl to soften too.
I’d find myself calmer. Breathing deeply. And a few hours later, I’d go down and say that I was sorry.
If I treat myself the same way—with a calm, soft, patient voice—maybe then I’ll be able to work through this. But the more I beat myself up for being imperfect, the louder and more emotional this little girl will get.
I’m not saying we should just accept ourselves as we are and everyone around us must be okay with it—I’m saying that it’s only by befriending all of ourselves and treating ourselves with compassion that we provide a safe soil for us to fertilize into a better version of who we were always meant to me.
“On the path of self-realization, there is no one big awakening, but many along the way of varying degrees: some small, some big; and each one of them is like the lotus flower, which grows out of muddy waters.” ~ Ora Nadrich
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